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Maria Schneider with Helmut Berger in Arthur Schnitzler´s Reigen.

Helmut Berger (born May 29, 1944) is an Austrian actor.

Contents

Early life

Berger (whose real name is Helmut Steinberger) was born in Bad Ischl, Austria, into a family of hoteliers. He initially trained and worked in this field, even though he had no interest in gastronomy or the hospitality industry. At the age of 18, he moved to London, where he did odd-jobs while taking acting classes. After studying languages in Perugia, Berger moved to Rome.

Career

In 1964, he first met Luchino Visconti, with whom he later had a relationship. Visconti gave him his first acting role in the movie Le streghe (1967) (in the episode "La strega bruciata viva"), but he gained international prominence as the amoral Martin von Essenbeck in Visconti's The Damned (1969). In The Damned, in what is perhaps his best known scene, he mimics Marlene Dietrich in Der blaue Engel. In Visconti's Ludwig, Berger portrays Ludwig II of Bavaria ('Mad Ludwig') from his blooming youth, to his dissolute final years.

In 1969, Berger was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role in The Damned, and in 1973 he won the European Oscar "David di Donatello" for his performance in Ludwig. In 2007, he received a Special Teddy award at the Berlin Film Festival for his overall professional achievements.[1]

Berger has worked in television, most notably in the role of Peter De Vilbis in Dynasty, which he did only for money (he would later call it "crying on the way to the set but laughing on the way to the bank".) This was his last appearance in a TV series.

In Berger's latest film Iron Cross he plays Shrager, an aging character believed to be an old SS commander responsible for murdering Jews during World War II. Currently, the film is in post-production and set to be released in summer 2010.

Personal life

Berger, openly bisexual, has been a frequent guest on many talk shows, giving interviews on topics such as his serious relationship with Marisa Berenson, whom he supposedly wished to marry, and erotic adventures with Bianca and Mick Jagger, Edy Star (Brazilian singer/actor) and other rock stars in the 1970s and 1980s.

Visconti's death in 1976 plunged Berger into a deep personal crisis. Visconti's will, in which Berger was apparently named as heir, could not be found. Berger attempted suicide on the first anniversary of Visconti's death, and also had problems with drug and alcohol abuse.

In 2004, Berger moved from Rome to Salzburg to live with his mother; he denied rumours of financial difficulties, explaining he was merely looking for a new apartment in Rome. He also declared that he had stopped using drugs.

Filmography

Bibliography

  • Paola-Ludovika Coriando, La poesia del volto: ritratto di Helmut Berger attore viscontiano, in: "Cineforum", n. 452 (marzo 2006).

References

External links








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